The Overdue Life of Amy Byler

Kelly Harms sends us on a “Momspringa” with this fun book about a very bookish and witty librarian revamping her personal and professional life. And there’s books on the cover. What more could you ask for in a book?

Synopsis:

Three years ago Amy Byler’s husband John went on a business trip to Hong Kong and never returned. Since then, Amy has been raising their two children alone in Pennsylvania. Through the added responsibilities, the need to get a job, and stress of her money suddenly becoming extremely tight, Amy is facing the loss of herself. She is overworked, overtired, and under-appreciated.

To her surprise, John returns and wants to spend time with his estranged kids – Joe is now 12 and Cori is 15. After some resistance, Amy jumps on the opportunity to visit New York for work and reconnecting with a friend. At first, she is still consumed with how the kids are doing back in Pennsylvania with their father and can’t seem to let go. But as the week goes on, she relaxes and expands and begins to enjoy the feeling of solitude, of companionship, and of new possibilities. Able to enjoy and distance herself, she starts to look back over the past 5 years and contemplates the deterioration of her marriage.

As she makes new friends and tries new things, she wonders how her new outlook and new life can possibly meld with the life she left in Pennsylvania. Before she can decide, a shocking twist forces Amy to contemplate losing both possibilities.

This is a touching story about losing ourselves in the needs of others, being open to new experiences, and finding – and redefining – ourselves by looking inward.

Review:

A funny, hopeful, and vulnerable read. The perfect summer book – for any day of the year!

Where do we find our self-worth as a person – as a parent? When the needs of others start to overshadow our own, do we remember to take care of ourselves? How do we ask for help when we’re not used to needing it, and we feel like we have something to prove by doing it alone?

Kelly Harms creates a touching story with just enough juicy twists to keep you entranced. Her writing is so witty and quick, and in Amy Byler she creates such a relatable character that you can’t help but fall in love with and want to come out on top.

Like any self-actualized, successful, capable adult woman would do in this situation, I duck behind the q-tips.

— Amy Byler

Amy’s hilarious banter and rapport with her two best friends and some new people she meets, is at times laugh-out-loud funny.

Cori, Amy’s 15-year-old daughter, is snarky and flip, but often quite wise in her observations. Through Cori’s journal entries at the beginning of each chapter, we get a since of her quick wit, her vulnerability, and her trust in her mother. She is equally resistant to advice, as expected in a teenager, while acknowledging that her mom might actually know best…maybe.

Overall, this book is the refreshing, uplifting, and comical read that I needed. I’m usually drawn to more serious or emotionally heavy books, but this one (while working through some serious topics of the heart) kept things mostly light and playful. It was also perfect for my not-so-inner book nerd, with lots of great book references in the banter between characters. It was a joy to read!

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
by Kelly Harms
Kindle Edition, 328 pages
Published May 1st 2019 by Lake Union Publishing

Summary

Kelly Harms sends us on a "Momspringa" with this fun book about a very bookish and witty librarian revamping her personal and professional life. And there's books on the cover. What more could you ask for in a book?

— Cassie
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